Sonus faber hand crafted loudspeakers from Italy. To be a Sonus faber reseller is a pleasure and a privilege – for us at Totally Wired, Sonus faber embody all the good qualities of audio which bought us to the business in the first instance. A conscious choice to place quality before quantity. Faultless workmanship combined with originality of thought & design.
The disregard for conventional commercial criteria make Sonus faber more than just a brand for us. With Sonus faber loudspeakers, it’s all about music and relationships. To become a Sonus faber owner is to bypass the bloodless pursuit of the technical and become immersed in the emotional pleasures of music.
Of the current Sonus faber speakers we review and discuss in detail: Olympica Nova II, Lumina I & III, Sonetto III, Minima Amator II and the all-in-one Omnia.
Why fight Music? The Sonus faber philosophy
As we see it, Sonus faber are one of the very few loudspeaker designers to work with music rather than against it. Consider this – the characteristics that separate the sound of a basic violin from that of a treasured heirloom instrument are there for anyone to hear – the tonality, precision, resonance and warmth are readily apparent. The same applies to any musical instrument used in performance – and this is by no means the exclusive province of Classical music – the qualities we associate with voice, drums or electric guitar are all defined by tone and resonance. With any instrument these qualities are direct reflections of the materials and craftsmanship used (with a human voice we may assume a higher source but the same physical principles apply.) So why fight resonance and by implication other musical qualities when designing loudspeakers – for speakers are simply musical instruments we play with a HiFi system. If this makes sense to you, then we are speaking the same language.
But for the technically literate we have to point out that Sonus faber designs can more than compete on a specification level. If you choose to harness music to work for you, rather than devote design resources to eliminating character, then aspects such as phase coherence, frequency response and dispersion become tools with which to produce better sound. Everything happens for a reason and in the physical world you can measure it – you just have to know what to look for and what is actually important!
And much of that judgement comes down to experience and intellect. Sonus faber are a brand able to stand on the performance and quality of their products – no sexist advertising, no mass market-a-pair-in-every-home aspirations.
Although a speaker can contain the most sophisticated of electronic components, it’s timbre can only be determined through listening. Sonus faber’s unique philosophy based on the craftsmanship of musical instruments is that a loudspeaker is, in a sense, a musical container like the body of a violin. Traditional hand crafted cabinets are therefore at the heart of the design. Sonus faber put more soul into their smallest speaker than most companies can muster in their entire range. Resolutely handmade in relatively small quantities, by a family (in that special Italian sense), all Sonus faber speakers feature the finest European components nested in a cabinet of selected solid timber with not a veneer in sight.
For Sonus faber there is one very simple principle – the loudspeaker is an instrument to play music. And like any other handcrafted instrument, it follows that the materials used and quality of craftsmanship will have a direct bearing on the sound produced. Sonus faber don’t waste time fighting resonance (and by implication music), they simply employ it to further their pursuit of more enjoyable sound.
So you’ll understand, that the sound of any Sonus faber speaker will reflect this approach. Nothing else has quite the richness, especially when it comes to vocals and stringed instruments. You may well think that this would confine their talents to the realm of classical music – in fact, this richness and generosity of tone works wonders with just about any recording, making the previously mundane suddenly listenable and the well recorded simply sublime.